If you're like the majority of the people in Utah, one of the first things that pops into mind when mentioning the city of Beaver is the big billboard of a bucktoothed beaver that welcomes you as you drive into the area along I-15.

If you know about girls basketball though, you know that Beaver's hometown high school has quickly become a powerhouse in the 2A ranks.Head coach Bryan Wood took over a program two years ago that had only one victory the previous season. With a lot of hard work and desire, the Beavers have been to the state tournament each year since then, winning the consolation title its first trip and taking home the championship trophy last year.

This year, despite only having one senior starter and no players over 5-foot-9, Beaver was tabbed in the preseason coaches poll to win it all again and have looked the part so far. The Beavers are 6-1 to date with their only loss coming to third-ranked Richfield of 3A.

Beaver is loaded with depth and experience from Sunny Myers, Makenzie Gillins and Kristen Marchant who average a combined 41 points per game. But Wood feels having so many young players is one of his team's weaknesses.

"We have a lot of experience but being young they still get nervous," Wood said. "It's more mental than anything . . . but I have great respect for them because they are so young."

Wood is also quick to throw off the mantle of being tabbed the top team in 2A.

"There are a lot of good teams out there and unless you are 20 points better than any other team there is always the chance you are going to get beat," he added.

The teams Wood mentioned off the top of his head included Region 15 foes San Juan and Monticello and Region 13's South Summit and Millard.

San Juan got off to a slow start this year, losing its first two games to out-of-state teams. But the Broncos won have won four of their last five, losing only to Beaver. Guard Alycia Adams is the key player in making the San Juan offense go.

The Buckaroos also have a chance of knocking off the Beavers and Broncos to win the region and state titles. Monticello has also started slow with a 2-4 record and head coach Tony Esplin wondered about how his offense would do this season. But the Buckaroos play good defense and have a deep bench which is always important. Center Tara Forrest and all-state forward Julie Adams will provide the leadership Monticello needs.

North Sevier is an early surprise team with a No. 5 ranking. The Wolves are led by Shadoe Shaheen and are 2-0 in region play.

The South Summit girls' program just won the 2A volleyball title and has the tools to make a serious run for the basketball title as well. Tanya Woolstenhulme, Brittani Gordon and Brandi Gordon are the core to an offense than can be potent.

The Wildcats are 5-2 overall and 1-0 in region play after winning their region-opener on Thursday. South Summit's two losses came to 4A schools.

By defeating Piute on Friday, Millard finally got over the .500 mark for the first time this season at 3-2. Height is a key for the Eagles with 6-foot-2 center Cynthia Olson manning the post position.

Juab could be a surprise team with four returning seniors from a team that finished 14-10 last year.